Establishing Belgium Honda / 1963

Crossing Boundaries to International Production

Establishing Belgium Honda / 1963

Fujisawa Assigns a Local Investigation

News of the EEC's policy was frequently reported in the media of Japan and other nations throughout the month of December 1961. The measures Honda would conceive in order to handle the situation were to play a key role in its overseas strategy. During that period, following a meeting in the Executive Boardroom, the topic of conversation between Takeo Fujisawa (then senior managing director) and Hideo Iwamura (then assistant general manager of administration) turned to a possible strategy regarding the EEC. Fujisawa described in considerable detail the present state of the EEC, along with future trends and issues facing Honda in the EEC region.

The exportation of motorcycles to the EEC was rapidly approaching the specified limit, yet even at that point Honda was barely making a profit. Moreover, the high tariffs were threatening to consume even more of the company's earnings. It was feared that motorcycle exports would no longer be feasible as a business when the EEC combined itself into one big market. Therefore, in order that Honda might grow its business on even terms with competitors within the EEC, it was argued that the best measure would be to have Honda produce and sell motorcycles within the region.

Successful production and sales within the EEC could dramatically cut the costs of distribution. Furthermore, the simple increase of locally procured parts to 60 percent of product content would qualify the product as EEC-made, enabling it to be distributed tax-free within the EEC market. After all, Honda motorcycles had already demonstrated their great potential in local race activities, and opportunities were on the increase for the development of a European market.

"So then," said Fujisawa, "you start looking into it right away." With that, Iwamura was instructed to conduct a market survey in the EEC region, under the assumption that Honda would establish a corporation for the local production and sale of motorcycles. Iwamura, surprised by such a sudden turn of events, simply could not hide his bewilderment.

"This is a very important issue concerning Honda's future," he said. "So, let's tackle it by organizing a solid system first."

"I'll leave everything to you," Fujisawa replied. "Feel free to do what you think is best." Following the exchange, Iwamura hurriedly began work on a research project for the EEC region.

By January 1962, Iwamura, along with Kenjiro Okayasu (then manager of Saitama Factory's Direct Materials Section, Materials Division) and Tetsuya Iwase (then chief of the Training Subsection, Personnel Division), organized themselves as the "Special Planning Team for the Corporate Project to Expand into the EEC Region," and began full-scale preparations to conduct the necessary research. There was relevant data to collect with regard to the issue. Yet, for the meantime their research would center on the choice of a candidate site for the construction of a local corporation that could produce and sell motorcycles using materials and labor procured in the area. Moreover, they would need to determine the size of the operation and the types of motorcycles that should be produced. That was no easy task, considering that the EEC was comprised of countries that differed greatly in terms of their policies, economics, market characteristics, languages and customs. It was highly likely that such differences would affect the way any corporation engaged in business there. Moreover, in choosing a site for factory construction it was obvious that the host nation had to be politically stable with a good economic foundation that allowed for the local acquisition of parts. Other factors in the equation were the need for a skilled labor force and a convenient geographic location for corporate activities. Considering the need to satisfy so many conditions, their research took on a wick scope.

The Challenging Spirit of Honda

A System that Fosters Expertise
  1. A System that Fosters ExpertiseA System that Fosters Expertise
  2. The R&D Center Goes Independent / 1960The R&D Center Goes Independent / 1960
  3. Employing the "My Record" Project and Expert Certification  / 1960Employing the "My Record" Project and Expert Certification / 1960
A Dream Come True: Car Builder for the World
  1. A Dream Come True: Car Builder for the WorldA Dream Come True: Car Builder for the World
  2. Launching the S360 and T360 / 1962Launching the S360 and T360 / 1962
  3. Entering the Auto Market at Last / 1966Entering the Auto Market at Last / 1966
  4. Introducing N360 / 1967Introducing N360 / 1967
  5. Launching the Honda 1300 / 1968Launching the Honda 1300 / 1968
  6. Introducing the CVCC / 1972Introducing the CVCC / 1972
  7. Announcing the Civic / 1972Announcing the Civic / 1972
  8. Introducing the Accord / 1976Introducing the Accord / 1976
Marketing Globally, Producing Lacally
  1. Marketing Globally, Producing LocallyMarketing Globally, Producing Locally
  2. Establishing American Honda Motor Co. / 1959Establishing American Honda Motor Co. / 1959
  3. Establishing Belgium Honda / 1963Establishing Belgium Honda / 1963
  4. Establishing Honda of America Manufacturing / 1980Establishing Honda of America Manufacturing / 1980
A Refreshing New Development
  1. A Refreshing New DevelopmentA Refreshing New Development
Products Emerging From Technology and Innovation
  1. Products Emerging From Technology and InnovationProducts Emerging From Technology and Innovation
  2. The Oval Piston Engine / 1979The Oval Piston Engine / 1979
  3. The Hondamatic Transmission / 1968The Hondamatic Transmission / 1968
  4. The Car Navigation System / 1981The Car Navigation System / 1981
  5. The Airbag System / 1987The Airbag System / 1987
  6. Four-Wheel Steering System (4WS) / 1987Four-Wheel Steering System (4WS) / 1987
  7. The VTEC Engine / 1989The VTEC Engine / 1989
  8. The ME Engine (G100 / 150 / 200 / 300 / 400 Series) / 1977The ME Engine (G100 / 150 / 200 / 300 / 400 Series) / 1977
  9. The ZE Engine (GX110 / 140 / 240 / 270 / 340 Series) / 1983The ZE Engine (GX110 / 140 / 240 / 270 / 340 Series) / 1983
  10. The Dream CB750 FOUR / 1969The Dream CB750 FOUR / 1969
  11. CG125 / 1975CG125 / 1975
  12. Road Pal / 1976Road Pal / 1976
  13. City / 1981City / 1981
  14. The NSX / 1990The NSX / 1990
  15. Odyssey / 1994Odyssey / 1994
  16. Honda EV Plus: The Dream of an Electric Vehicle / 1988Honda EV Plus: The Dream of an Electric Vehicle / 1988
  17. The E300 Portable Generator / 1965The E300 Portable Generator / 1965
  18. The HR21 Lawn Mower / 1978The HR21 Lawn Mower / 1978
  19. The F200 "Komame" Mini-Tiller / 1980The F200 "Komame" Mini-Tiller / 1980
Production Technology: The Essence of Creative Manufacturing
  1. Production Technology: The Essence of Creative ManufaturingProduction Technology: The Essence of Creative Manufaturing
  2. Establishment of Honda Engineering / 1974Establishment of Honda Engineering / 1974
  3. The World's Smallest Welding Line / 1982The World's Smallest Welding Line / 1982
  4. Transfer Lines for Modular Components / 1981Transfer Lines for Modular Components / 1981
  5. An Automated Line for Painting and Coating / 1988An Automated Line for Painting and Coating / 1988
A Neverending Passion for Racing
  1. A Neverending Passion for RacingA Neverending Passion for Racing
  2. Completion of Suzuka Circuit / 1962Completion of Suzuka Circuit / 1962
  3. Returning to the World Motorcycle Grand Prix / 1979Returning to the World Motorcycle Grand Prix / 1979
  4. Formula One Entry: The Initial Phase / 1964Formula One Entry: The Initial Phase / 1964
  5. Formula One Entry: The Second Phase / 1983Formula One Entry: The Second Phase / 1983
  6. Entry to Champ Car Racing / 1994Entry to Champ Car Racing / 1994
  7. The Birth of Twin Ring Motegi / 1997The Birth of Twin Ring Motegi / 1997
Creativity - The Way to Work Harder, Play Harder
  1. Creativity – The Way to Work Harder, Play Harder Creativity – The Way to Work Harder, Play Harder
  2. Holding All Honda Idea Contests / 1970Holding All Honda Idea Contests / 1970
People and Society Coexisting in Harmony with Nature
  1. People and Society Coexisting in Harmony with NaturePeople and Society Coexisting in Harmony with Nature
  2. Establishment of Honda Taiyo, Kibo-no-Sato Honda and Honda R&D Taiyo / 1992Establishment of Honda Taiyo, Kibo-no-Sato Honda and Honda R&D Taiyo / 1992
  3. Creating Hometown Forests / 1977Creating Hometown Forests / 1977
  4. Hosting "Orei-no-kai" / 1991Hosting "Orei-no-kai" / 1991

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